EATON — Eaton donors gave blood again to give hope to a young boy battling a life-threatening illness. The Dec. 9 blood drive at Eaton Community Church honored five-year-old leukemia survivor Gage Brown.
Gage is the son of Brandy and Michael Brown from Eaton. He was nearly two years old when diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2018. He received his final chemo treatment Dec. 2. “My goal is to bring more attention to childhood cancer and the importance of donating blood,” said Brandy.
The blood drive totaled 58 whole blood donors, 49 whole blood donations and eight platelet and plasma donations to reach 106% of collection goal.
The church was fully decorated for the Christmas season on Thursday. There were early holiday decorations on display at the Oct. 14 “Christmas in October” blood drive in honor of four-year-old Eaton cancer patient Stevie “DJ” Dillon.
The fear was that Stevie might not live to see another Christmas. Five days later, he lost his year-long battle with stage four embryonic brain cancer.
Donors sympathized with the Dillon family, remembering well the community support for Stevie. They also found encouragement in Gage Brown’s journey to recovery.
“This is a mission for me,” said Camden donor Bev Brubaker, who made her 94th lifetime donation Thursday. “I have it, it replaces itself, I can give it.”
Bev said tragedy can be a source of inspiration. “After 9/11 there was a blood drive at the United Church of Christ and the line was out the door. People wanted to do something and there were more blood than needed. I wanted to say, ‘Everybody here… come back again in two months.’ I know there is a lot of people who can’t give, but if you can, do.”
Thursday marked the third blood drive Brandy Brown has sponsored for her son.
“I started doing it when he was diagnosed with leukemia,” she said. “After seeing how many blood transfusions he needed and how much blood donors have helped him get through treatment, it just feels right to continue hosting blood drives and bringing awareness.”
“My parents got me started,” said Eaton donor Jennifer Baker, who made her 138th lifetime donation. “They started donating back when I went to Northmont and they had blood drives. I started from there.”